Can the Chiefs afford to trade for Julio Jones?

As Julio Jones looks to head out of Atlanta, could Kansas City make an offer to bring him in for 2021?

The Atlanta Falcons have entered a crossroads with Julio Jones. During an interview Monday on FS1’s “Undisputed“, Jones told Shannon Sharpe that he is “out of there” before the start of the 2021 season.

Naturally, Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank has stated that he wants Jones to be a “Falcon for life.” On the opposing side, new GM Terry Fontenot and head coach Arthur Smith understand the value a 32-year-old All-Pro receiver could bring via a trade while also clearing up the salary cap.

The asking price would have to be right for Jones to leave Atlanta. According to The Athletic’s Jeff Schultz, six teams seem to be interested in adding the veteran target to the offense. One team that wasn’t mentioned was the Kansas City Chiefs.

Then again, as The MMQB’s Albert Breer points out, never rule out Chiefs GM Brett Veach on being aggressive in the offseason.

Chiefs: Should Kansas City make a run for Julio Jones?

When looking at this from an on-field approach, this makes perfect sense for Kansas City to add Jones. They have one of the games top vertical options in Tyreek Hill and an upside slot target in Mecole Hardman. Travis Kelce is still a top-three tight end and the offensive line has improved for Patrick Mahomes.

The real question comes to down the pricing and can Kansas City afford to add Jones to an already expensive salary cap.

Kansas City currently has just under $9 million in cap space. Jones is due $38.326 million over the next three years, but  $15.3 million is guaranteed for 2021.  Frank Clark, Chris Jones, Joe Thuney, Hill and Mahomes will make up $129.81 million towards the cap starting in 2022.

Jones will be owed at least $11.5 million in ’22 and ’23, respectively as well. Keep in kind that Tyrann Mathieu is a free agent after the season and Kansas City will have to decide if they want to give newly-acquired left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. an extension following the trade this offseason.

Kelce is also expected hit over an average of over $12 million starting in 2023.

Although adding Jones would all by hand Kansas City the AFC, it’s not plausible to the salary cap. Also, knowing that Jones would create a “super team,” Fontenot could set the price at what he wants, meaning cheap and affordable players on rookie deals would be headed to Atlanta instead.

Jones might be traded, but the Chiefs can’t bring in everybody. Adding Jones would complicate the salary cap and take away draft capital that would be better served towards helping Mahomes on affordable deals.

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